After 17 years working in Advertising, yearning for creative fulfilment and having an obsession with interior design, Sharon decided to explore designing a range of interiors. After a year of testing designs, prices and products she opened a gallery and interiors store with her photographer husband to combine their passions and talents.
As Sharon was a Highly Commended Regional Finalist of the FL National Awards 2017, we caught up with her for a quick chat to see what’s the secret to her success.
How did you decide to pursue the career that you are working in today?
I worked in advertising & publishing for 17 years, spending 12 years of those years working for a publisher of home interest magazines. I have always loved interiors so working across a portfolio of high-quality design magazines was a great daily inspiration. Whilst renovating our second home we couldn’t find the designs we wanted that were both unique and affordable so decided to create our own. We started with wallpaper for our sitting room, then cushions & lampshades. Great feedback from family & friends gave me the confidence to pursue this as a career. I had no formal design business training but with plenty of energy & enthusiasm, I decided to just do it.
What are the best and worst parts of your job?
The best part of my job is seeing a design come to life and then engaging with customers, listening to their reasons why they love our designs too. Because our designs are the product of my husband/partner Garry and I together, our work is very personal and means a great deal to us, so to hear customers who feel the same is incredibly satisfying. The worst part of my job, at present, is having to do every little thing for the business. At this stage, we are still a tiny company so there are plenty of days when I feel inspired to be designing or making but have to get the nitty gritty accounts/paperwork/banking or filing done.
Who is a person that you considered as a role model early in your life?
Anita Roddick inspired me as a child, she was the first woman I became aware of that had a successful yet ethical business. Anita was able to achieve a hugely successful global business whilst shaping ethical trading standards & consumerism for generations to follow. I was always inspired by Anita as she didn’t fit the cold hard business-like stereotypes and for me she set a very high standard to aim for. She inspires me still as someone who followed her passions, created a successful business then used her wealth & status to help many groups of society who needed her.
What’s the biggest risk you’ve ever taken?
The biggest risk I have ever taken was giving up my corporate 9-5 to pursue my business dreams. We sold our house and used the money to set up the business. Becoming a renter again and losing the monthly salary was a real shock, learning to live on a tighter budget, forgoing holidays, working 12-hour days often 7 days a week have become the norm – but I love it. Now my hard work and long hours are all for me, not a global corporation where I was merely just a number. Worth the risk I would say.
What are your current goals?
Our business is fairly new but I dream big, always have. So, my goals for the next two years are to generate rapid sales growth by gaining national & international stockists for our products. Then expand our current retail space & online shop. By doing this I hope to develop the business enough to be able to employ 5+ staff within the next two years and be in a position where I don’t have to do everything myself!
If you’d like to be considered for an award, or would like to nominate someone else, nominations and applications for the FL National Awards & Summit 2018 are now open – for more details see HERE.